Category Archives: Health Care

OK… next step.They are going to get me ready for surgery.

Hope this doesn’t take long…. I don’t really want to be knocked out for a long time. It’s my right brain that this tumor is on and I hope when they take it out I’ll still have mind enough to do this blog…an activity I am unusually fond of.

 

 

I guess I’ll be signing off now.  I’ll try to get back up tomorrow or Sunday.   –  Bill

 

Packing for the hospital…

I have to get to my daughter’s house before 10 AM with all my clothes and meds packed to get down to Georgetown to the hotel by the hospital. I’ll bring my laptop and hopefully I can review the news or arts events and have another post for my friends later.

My thoughts are all tied up with this brain surgery and I’m not even exploring the Susan Rice SOS nomination… something I would ordinarily be dwelling on. Or Netanyahu‘s new attack on Gaza which is likely to bring us even farther into Middle East hostilities. You’ll have to trot around to the sites I regularly quote to keep up with everything.

Soooo…Have a nice day and occasionally think of me.    -Bill

 

Starting the day in Hell…

Last night, on our way home from the MRI, we stopped at my daughter Penny’s to pick up our dogs where they were staying all day. Getting out of Cassandra‘s car and walking toward her house, I tripped over the base of my grandsons’ basketball net… painted black and invisible at night… and fell hard on the driveway and impacted my already weakened left side.

Getting up off the ground required really focused assistance from Elly and the girls who brought out a dining room chair for me to pull myself up using my right arm. This took about fifteen minutes and made my girls worry a lot.

While I don’t seem to have broken any bones, nor did I open any of the breaks I had in August/September, but my right arm hurts too much when I try to lift it that I’m really worried about what they are going to try to do at today’s exam in Hagerstown.

I spent the night switching between ice packs and a heating pad on my left shoulder and I have a little more movement, but not much, this morning. Elly made me a new ice pack for the morning.

I hope this doesn’t have the effect of cancelling Friday’s surgery on my head.

Just finished my MRI…

Elly and Cassandra say I had a seizure going into the test… apparently I was “babbling”…but I don’t remember it. I was under the MRI’s spell for about an hour. Now we are having dinner and getting ready to drive back home.

They have added 2 more doctors appointments in Hagerstown tomorrow. There goes my last day off. I’ll be glad when the brain surgery is all over with this weekend.

Posting from my iPhone is a new experience for me. These fat fingers on a teensy keyboard really means not much writing. Sorry.

Down at Georgetown having lunch before tests…

Georgetown Hospital

If you ever have to do something at Georgetown University Hospital, let me recommend a wonderful on-campus restaurant, Empire and Company, a great classic buffet with a side pizza parlor.

We arrived an hour and a half early leaving time for my wife, daughter and me to have lunch and discuss this afternoon’s tests and what we are required to bring with us. I’ll do a blood test just before we go over and see if I need any insulin before the tests.

I’d like to thank all of you e-mailers and commentators and friends for contacting me and wishing me well and praying for me (can you believe it, an old, publicly avowed atheist like me?). I probably won’t be back to this until much later tonite or tomorrow morning, my last day at home this week. I’ll be back with a report on what’s going on.

Meanwhile, General Petraeus may be off the news and we can get back on to the economy.

OK… it’s off to Georgetown today for the last day of tests before surgery…

Something called “Pre-Surgical Intake” and ending with a new MRI. Then we’ll be chugging back to Harpers Ferry, I get a day off and on Thursday night I’m back in Georgetown at the hotel next to the hospital waiting to have a hole drilled in my head the next day.

Looks like we’ll be driving down in the rain.

I can’t say this is the week I’m looking forward to, but if it ends up solving the problem of my seizures and other things and I am allowed to drive a car again someday (that’s something a guy who goes around to visit friends really misses!) and maybe live a while longer who could complain?

Hey… a note to my wife… Let’s assume I’m going to make Christmas this year. Know what I want? The new DVD of the revival of Sondheim’s company with Neil Patrick Harris, Patty LuPone and… Stephen Colbert! You can get it at Amazon.  Don’t order it until after Saturday.

 

Lunch with the family…

Oy! Three flights of stairs!

My sister took Elly and me, my mother, my son and his wife, my two daughters and three of my grandsons to lunch at Lightfoot’s, a former bank turned into a restaurant in Leesburg, VA. Supposedly, this restaurant is at a halfway point between my mother in Manassas and Elly and me in Harpers Ferry (and my daughter Penny and her kids in Williamsport, MD.)

This was put together so everyone could give me their best wishes before I go into the hospital next week and for all of them to wish me their best.

Buddy and Rachel

We were up three flights of stairs in a private room in this old bank building, where we (or at least me with my current balance and dizziness) slowly walked up and then spent two hours in one place.

It’s full of old French theatre posters, which was sort of neat for my 12-year-old grandson John who is learning French in school this year…”Mais oui!”

My Mother

My son Bud and his wife Rachel are in from Wisconsin.. they’ll be flying back early tomorrow. Penny and the boys, of course, only live a little bit away from us and will be involved in watching me when I recuperate so Elly can go into Hagerstown Community College and work.

Me, of course

My daughter Cassandra who will be here for another week is coordinating all the hospital and doctor stuff with Elly. She is a very organized and impressive woman and has everything going on schedule… more tests next week before surgery, hospital be rental for after (not sure why I need this, but I’m told not to argue.)

Anyway, I can’t get over thinking that this is everyone’s chance to say goodbye to me in case anything goes wrong in surgery (I think there’s a 7% chance or something.)

No radio shows this coming weekend… perhaps the week after. Let’s hope.

Ever make out a “living will?”

My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.

They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.

They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.

This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b   where it costs under $20.00.

If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:

This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.

…or this one:

“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.

As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure.  Thanks, Lynn.

 

Looks like I’m on a revised schedule and a doctor change for brain surgery…

My wife, daughter and my son (who just came in from Wisconsin to see me) have just returned from a long morning and early afternoon in Georgetown (northern DC) where we have been at the hospital and physicians‘ center at the University.

It now seems that this is where everything will take place with the actual surgery one week from today. Tuesday we’ll have to go down again for more testing.

My new doctor comes with a very fine reputation and many years of experience. The hospital is one of the best rated in the country (something the Hagerstown hospital was far from) and it looks like they know what to do. The results of the surgery will take out part of the tumor, discover what kind it is and whether it needs chemotherapy, radiation or both. Then I will have an idea of how much living I will be able to expect… realizing that there is no 100% cure here.

Me and my brain. So this is what it looks like!

I now have much more need to research the idea of a brain tumor and how it will continue to effect my life. When you are 66 and facing something major like this in your head, it is also concerning how much life there will continue to be to effect.

I can, however, do my radio show tomorrow morning on WSHC, Shepherdstown. If you aren’t in our 50 mile radius for 89.7 FM, go HERE and listen live on line. Tomorrow I’ll be on from 10:30 to 12:00 ET and I look forward to calls and requests (and I think my daughter Cassandra is going to do the show with me.)

Hope you all had a better day than I did.       – Bill

(thanks to my daughter, Cassandra Corrigan, for the photo.)

My daughter, Cassandra, has come down from Connecticut and is helping my wife coordinate all the brain surgery problems…

I don’t know what I would do if I were on my own, here, dealing with doctors changing schedules without giving us warning, accidentally taking medications that should have been discontinued before certain tests, getting up at 5:00 every morning to get into three or four appointments which don’t seem to get us anywhere.

The newest big problem is reports we have gotten from friends, employees of the hospital and others, where we have been told that the particular hospital we were going to have the surgery in is not one ANY of them would use. Isn’t that thrilling?

Now we are in a holding position. We haven’t cancelled the now set Monday surgery or anything, but tomorrow we are interviewing another practice at a much better hospital with a much better reputation and this may stop everything and set up a new schedule.

Cassandra

Fortunately for me, my daughter Cassandra Corrigan who is a private school Senior Database Administrator in Connecticut (Loomis, Chaffee School), took off from work, drove down here to West Virginia, and has been coordinating with my wife on getting all the papers ready, information on MRIs and other tests that have been collected in the last couple of weeks to bring to Ge0rgetown, down near DC, for the new practice interviews. We will be making a new decision after that, so surgery will most likely be postponed some more.

I am so impressed with Cassandra… my first-born, a fine wife and mother and a brilliant woman. I taught her to use her first computer and now she outshines and outperforms me in all things technical. Wow! And she and my two other kids (can you still call them kids after they are older, married and out of the house?), my Mother, My sister and so many friends have been so concerned that the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing with folks wanting to know what’s happening.

Cassandra is just doing a spectacular job of getting me organized with all of this. I don’t know what I’ll do when she goes back up to the snow.

We’ve spent this morning and into the afternoon tracking down test reports from four doctors’ offices and we had a new blood test at a lab… and Elly got to go to work and teach her classes while my daughter brought me from office to office. I’m so glad Elly got to go to work today… she’s been giving up so much of her time for me, and when you are in a one-income household, the thought of impacting that one income is awesome.

A day of celebration underscored by personal madness…

AT 4:30 this morning when I posted Obama‘s win I had had 2 1/2 hours of sleep and needed to be up by five to drive to Hagerstown for the first of five different scheduled lab visits, Doctor conferences, and tests based on the notion that I’d be in surgery with my little brain on Friday.

Then, in the middle of all this, as my wife and I went from office to office (I had fasted for close to 11 hours because of one of the tests… so tired AND hungry) trying to get our neurosurgeon on the telephone to find out the results of yesterday’s testing, we were told the surgery would be moved to Monday from Friday!

Well, you’ve never heard anyone yell as loudly into a cell phone as Elly did to one of the front desk ladies at the Doctors‘ office who informed us of this unannounced time change. You have to understand, she takes time off from her work at the College to take me to these appointments and she manages our schedules and expenses, and she expects that professionals follow professional guidelines and maintain their schedules. They don’t.

There is a chance that they may not be able to do the surgery Monday, either, or that my wife will insist that we find another doctor (my daughters, I think, agree with that, too… I’m to worn out and dizzy to even think about it now. I’ll do what they say.)

So, if there is no surgery Friday, we will probably be headed to Georgetown ( 2 hours away) to interview another neurological practice.  If that does happen, I’ll probably be able to do my Saturday morning radio show on WSHC.

There is Joy In Mudville, though… Mighty Mitty has struck out. If you heard that snivelling concession speech he made (gracefulness is not a Republican skill) at 1:30 in the morning, then you have an idea of what kind of president he would have made.

Now we still have the House of Representatives with a big margin for the Repubs and John Boehner  which will let them trample the legislation we need for the economy, for single payer healthcare, for rebuilding our country and for getting out of all this war. I’m afraid it will be a difficult 4 years. Our support for the president will help get things done.

It will be one of the functions of this blog as long as I can keep it going.

- Bill

 

 

Getting this election over with is becoming an evening of sheer misery…

It’s not enough that I am going in for tests before my Friday brain surgery at 6:30 AM tomorrow and go through four different doctors and three tests by 2:30 PM…just getting my mind in the mood for that doesn’t let me bond with the TV pundits who are arguing out the campaign results they can’t really call.

Thinking about how miserable it would be if Romney won, but that is not nearly as bad as thinking about how graceless in their concessions the losers will be if Obama and the Democratic Congressional candidates win. Nobody seems to really be trying to tie the country together and make us the UNITED states that we have to become.

BTW, I want to really think the hundreds of you who have wished me well by e-mail, in Facebook, and those of you who have commented on this blog.  I never really knew how many of you visit the LobsterScope and it’s daily changing graphic background and what my daughter calls the rantings of an old man. I hope I’ll be back at full speed next week some time, but it will be hard to keep it up now through the weekend. Don’t be surprised if a day has no or only one post… and don’t plan on anything Friday or Saturday.

Those of you who listen to me on the radio at WSHC 89.7 Shepherdstown, either locally or on the worldwide live feed at http://897wshc.org , won’t hear me this weekend. I got friends and fellows to cover my time on the air and I thank all of them.

If you are in a state that has late polls open and you haven’t voted yet, get out there and do it. People have died for your right to vote!

Bye now… Bill.

I might have limited posting for a while…

Due to a medical emergency (the discovery of a potential brain tumor… aint that a kick in the head?) I’m going to be going in for several days of testing, etc., but I’ll try to keep up with you folks. I want you to know how much I appreciate the readers of Under The LobsterScope, and your e-mail to me is always welcome, as well as your likes and comments.

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE THIS MORNING IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.

I don’t want to wake up in a hospital and find that Mitt the Twit is president.

English: Nate Silver in Washington, D.C.

 Nate Silver

I’m glad that Nate Silver in the NY Times, 538 column, is still got his usually very accurate poll predictions on Obama carrying most of the swing states… and his prediction that our president will be re-elected.

Your e-mail is always appreciated… Bill.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Election is crawling toward it’s end. I am sooo thankful.

I’ll be so glad when all this election brouhaha is over. I’ll be so depressed if Romney captures a majority of American votes… in other words, I will think so much is wrong with this country’s education policies.

Bob Englehart in the The Hartford Courant:

So how likely is it that doing tax favors for the top 1% will raise the job totals?

- and -

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

At least Romney makes it clear who his support base won’t be…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

One day women might disable the positions of Romney and his buddies…

- and -

David Fitzsimmons in The Arizona Daily Star:

Some time accusations reverse themselves to define the accuser.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreign policy requires a lot of basic knowledge. Romney doesn’t seem to have any.

 

 

On the Republicans and their sophisticated views on Rape…

The Friskey has published a Handy Dandy Guide with a great chart. Isn’t it amazing how these men don’t seem to ever have asked a woman what being raped and/or getting pregnant from it means? The Friskey comments on the gentlemen in the chart:

“I have such a hard time remembering which conservative politician said what ridiculously offensive thing about rape. They’re all old and white and most of them are in some state of partial baldness. They all look the same! And they all sound basically the same too, given that woman-hating bile spews from their open pie holes. Alas, they are all individual people, who hold or have held positions of power within government, and aspire to inflict their beliefs upon your life.”

You know, there are people who listen to and agree with these terrible concepts and who admire all five of these Republicans. You can bet Mitt and his buddy Ryan are included in these.

I will be amazed when someone comes out with the statistic after the election of how many women voted Republican. It is as if they would enjoy being treated like cattle.

What in hell is it about Republicans and rape?

A new television ad in Indiana has Romney endorsing Richard Mourdock for Senator in that state. Mourdock, however, has displayed the Republicans‘ opposition to women and the right to choose. In a televised debate with his Democratic opponent Representative Joe Donnelly, he opposed abortion as a choice after rape… why? because God says so:

“Life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

– Richard Mourdock 

So this is a new and compelling reason (if you are a Republican) to leave raped women pregnant whether they want to bear a rapist‘s child or not. And, of course, Romney’s support indicates his actual neoconservative leanings, despite having tried to seem moderate in the last debate.

It’s hard to believe that any of these candidates would top Todd Akin, but Mourdock certainly has.

We’ve had enough of Mitt…

… so let’s take a look at why we don’t want Ryan for VP:

 

So if you are a woman or a senior citizen or a poor person needing medical services, perhaps you can see why this Republican rodent shouldn’t be elected.

Romney elected would mean the end of Roe v. Wade and the criminalization of abortion…

From this morning’s editorial in the NY Times:

Mr. Romney has called for overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to make her own childbearing decisions and to legalized abortion nationwide. He has said that the issue should be thrown back to state legislatures. The actual impact of that radical rights rollback is worth considering.

It would not take much to overturn the Roe decision. With four of the nine members of the Supreme Court over 70 years old, the next occupant of the White House could have the opportunity to appoint one or more new justices. If say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest member, retired and Mr. Romney named a replacement hostile to abortion rights, the basic right to abortion might well not survive.

The result would turn back the clock to the days before Roe v. Wade when abortion was legal only in some states, but not in others. There is every indication that about half the states would make abortion illegal within a year of Roe being struck down, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenges abortion restrictions around the country, puts the number at 30 states. For one thing, abortion bans already on the books in some states would suddenly kick in. And some Republican-controlled state legislatures would outlaw abortion immediately.

Even with Roe and subsequent decisions upholding abortion rights, more than half the states have enacted barriers like mandatory waiting periods, “counseling” sessions lacking a real medical justification; parental consent or notification laws; and onerous clinic “safety” rules intended to drive clinics out of business.

We do not need to guess about the brutal consequences of overturning Roe. We know from our own country’s pre-Roe history and from the experience around the world. Women desperate to end a pregnancy would find a way to do so. Well-to-do women living in places where abortion is illegal would travel to other states where it is legal to obtain the procedure. Women lacking the resources would either be forced by the government and politicians to go through with an unwanted or risky pregnancy, attempt to self-abort or turn to an illegal — and potentially unsafe — provider for help. Women’s health, privacy and equality would suffer. Some women would die.

…and women still have the ability to get Obama re-elected and protect their right to choose. I’m always amazed at middle-class Republican women who support Romney. Essentially they are making themselves potential victims.

 

Ex-Senator and former Presidential Candidate George McGovern in a South Dakota Hospice.

“He’s coming to the end of his life,” McGovern’s daughter, Ann, stated. She didn’t elaborate but noted that her 90-year-old father has suffered several health problems in the last year.

George McGovern became a leader of the Democrats’ liberal wing during his three decades in Congress but lost his 1972 challenge to Richard Nixon. McGovern turned his focus in recent years to world hunger.

It was after a lecture tour a year ago that he was treated for exhaustion, then two months later, he fell and hit his head.

McGovern spent several days in a Florida hospital in April for tests to determine why he occasionally passed out and had difficulty speaking. His daughter said he has moved in the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, where he moved in August to spend more time near his family.

McGovern was a member of the U.S. House from 1957 to 1961 and a U.S. senator from 1963 to 1981.

Today is our 34th Anniversary…

Elly dances with Buddy at his wedding reception.

Hard to believe it, but Elly and I have been married for 34 years as of today. It’s almost unbelievable that this wonderful woman has out up with me so long. I’m not the best husband in the world and have been obsessed with my various projects, often ignoring hers and making her life less than happy. Now, with my seizures and health care problems, she is making my actual living circumstances both possible and relatively enjoyable.

But we did have highlights in our combined lives. The major thing, of course, was the creation of our fantastic son Buddy (who now calls himself Will, but we will never think of him without the name “Buddy”) who got married a few weeks ago in Milwaukee. I hope he and Rachel get at least the 34 years we have had.

Together we have now raised four different dogs – it’s amazing how much we care about our pet relationships; Now, with Nestlé and Byron sleeping on our couches, our living room is warm and wonderful.

I guess we will go eat somewhere nice today to mark the occasion.

How in hell can we understand what Mittens stands for when he changes direction daily?

Like on the question of abortion and a woman’s right to choose:

It’s too bad this is funny, because it’s really very disturbing. To elect a man President we have to confirm our trust in what he believes in and what he says about those beliefs.

Romney leaves us confused. If you vote for him you get what you deserve.

 

When Romney questions Obama’s achievements, remember what the Congress did to most of his proposals.

 

No Congress has ever done to a President what the Republicans in the Senate and the House have. Given the House’s Republican majority and the Senate’s need for 60% of votes to avoid filibuster, the President has been a victim of politicians who put their party ahead of the needs of Americans.

Take a look:

 

And if you listen to Romney accuse Obama for not making enough happen, wonder why he is not aware of the stance taken by his fellow Republicans in elected office.

 

Why Obama Now…

An animation by Simpsons/Family Guy animator Lucas Gray:

Pass it around. It sums up the issues very well…very understandably. Entertaining, too.

The Supreme Court is one of the best reasons to re-elect Obama:

 

Given the fact that probably three Supreme Court justices will retire in the next presidential term, we should think about who the elected leader of the country will nominate to fill the jobs. Right now there is a small tip toward conservative thinking on the SCOTUS, but if Romney is elected the right wing could end up in complete control.

Here’s something to think about:

This, in itself, is one of the best reasons not to vote for Mittens. It would be important to preserve a court that upholds civil rights, women’s rights, diversity in college admissions and support of health care legislation. Should we lose these, the United States goes back to where it was in the first half of the last century and years of development and reform will get flushed down the drain.

It’s up to us to preserve years of important reform.

 

Environmental Scientist Barry Commoner Dies at 95

One of the men I admired most in the early environmental movement, Dr. Barry Commoner, has died at 95 at his home in Brooklyn Heights, and I think the world experiences a great loss. He was an early champion of recycling, organic food and reducing fossil fuel use… and, of course, he took a firm stand against nuclear testing.

Commoner was trained as a biologist at Columbia and Harvard and combined scientific expertise and leftist zeal. His work on the global effects of radioactive fallout, which included documenting concentrations of strontium 90 in the baby teeth of thousands of children, contributed materially to the adoption of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

He was a popular speaker and author 1n the 1960s and ’70s, and even campaigned for president in 1980.

Time Magazine called Commoner the Paul Revere of Ecology on the first Earth Day in 1970.

His four informal rules of ecology were:

1. Everything Is Connected to Everything Else

2. Everything Must Go Somewhere

3. Nature Knows Best

4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

Dr. Commoner’s was both concerned with ecology  and an ideal of social justice in which everything was indeed connected to everything else. Like some other leftist dissenters of his time, he believed that environmental pollution, war, and racial and sexual inequality needed to be addressed as related issues of a central problem.

Commoner insisted that the future of the planet depended on industry’s learning not to make messes in the first place, rather than on trying to clean them up after they were made. He thought scientists in the service of industry could not just create some new process or product and then remove themselves from a moral responsibility for the potential results. He was a lifelong opponent of nuclear power because of its radioactive waste and scorned the idea of pollution credit swaps because an industry would have to be fouling the environment in the first place to be rewarded by such a program.

He saw that social needs were tied up with environmental ones… for instance:

“I don’t believe in environmentalism as the solution to anything. What I believe is that environmentalism illuminates the things that need to be done to solve all of the problems together. For example, if you’re going to revise the productive system to make cars or anything else in such a way as to suit the environmental necessities, at the same time why not see to it that women earn as much as men for the same work?”

Harvard paleontologist Steven J. Gould’s summary of Barry Commoner’s work and achievements is clear:

“Although he has been branded by many as a maverick, I regard him as right and compassionate on nearly every major issue.”

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